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ANC demands Zuma’s MK party take the spear in ‘unlawful’ registration spat before Electoral Court

ANC demands Zuma’s MK party take the spear in ‘unlawful’ registration spat before Electoral Court
MK party supporters during a rally at Alexandra Stadium on 7 February, 2024. (Photo: Gallo Images/City Press/Tebogo Letsie) | Sy Mamabolo, IEC Chief Electoral Officer. (Photo: Gallo Images / Netwerk24 / Deaan Vivier) | President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla

The ANC believes the process of registering Jacob Zuma’s MK Party was unlawful. It has taken on the Independent Electoral Committee of South Africa, chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo as well as former president Jacob Zuma’s MK Party. 

The ANC’s affidavit states that processes were flouted in the registration of the new MK party which is being backed by its former president Jacob Zuma.

In papers submitted to the Electoral Court, the ANC argues that after the party’s registration was initially rejected, they had to start the process from scratch instead of supplementing their application as there is no lawful process to do so.

“On 4 August 2023, the Deputy Chief Electoral Officer gave his decision and rejected uMkhonto Wesizwe’s application for registration of a political party. The reason for this was that the application did not ‘substantially comply with the provisions of section 15 of the Electoral Commission Act…’

“uMkhonto Wesizwe was informed that the rejection did not prevent it from submitting a fresh application, complying with all the requirements to the Chief Electoral Officer [Sy Mamabolo],” according to the documents.

The governing party claims that the two section 15(4A) notices published by MK Party were defective in that they were based on outdated and incorrect templates and were further referred incorrectly to section 16(1)(a) of the Electoral Commission Act.

Read more in Daily Maverick: ANC KZN condemns Zuma’s ‘gross ill-discipline’ for support of new party

The affidavit says the MK Party failed to publish a fresh notice in the Government Gazette informing the public that it seeks registration.

By not gazetting their application, the ANC believes the public was deprived the opportunity to get more information about the party or give them the opportunity to lodge objections.

“The publication in the Government Gazette is not a requirement that can be overlooked. Publication serves an important purpose: the public may consider the applicant party’s details and decide whether they wish to lodge an objection.

“If they lodge an application and the Chief Electoral Officer registers the political party, the objector has a right to appeal against that decision to the Electoral Commission. The publication in the Government Gazette is of national importance. It cannot be wished away. The law requires publication by the party and that publication must take place,” the documents read.

The governing party also requested a condonation for the late filing of this application as it was first seeking legal advice on whether to pursue the matter.

“There is a need for certainty about what the law requires. This Court is best placed to determine the issue. This Court’s decision will also go a long way to preserving the electoral system and will guard against the risk of the Electoral Commission, and by extension, the Chief Electoral Officer from arbitrary decision-making,” according to the affidavit.

The ANC then argues the urgency of the matter. The party states it will not receive redress if this application is heard in due course as it might then be heard close to or after elections.

“This matter is urgent and requires this Court’s intervention. The issues that present for decision are issues of national importance, which strike at the heart of our constitutional democracy. The integrity of the electoral system itself is called into question if the registration of a political party is unlawful,” it reads.

Zuma’s quarrel with the ANC

The ANC has been at odds with Zuma since he announced that he would be campaigning for the MK Party in the upcoming provincial and national elections.

The ANC  announced Zuma’s suspension from the party last month saying that that he was “actively impugning the integrity of the ANC” by campaigning to dislodge the organisation from power.

Party Secretary General Fikile Mbalula said the NEC invoked Rule 25.60 of the party’s constitution to suspend Zuma. He said the rule did not allow him the opportunity to respond to the decision as it was final.

The South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) also expelled Zuma who held the position of provincial chair.

The ANC raised its concerns about the use of the name of the organisation’s disbanded paramilitary wing, Umkhonto weSizwe.

While they could not stop the MK party from using the name, the ANC is now looking at other ways to nail the MK Party which may dim their electoral prospects in KZN and Gauteng.

While majority of polls have not yet managed to survey MK party’s popularity, they have already managed to attract voters in KZN

In the past week, the MK Party was the third-largest party in Ward 2 in uPhongolo, Zululand. In its debut, in AbaQulusi, Zululand, the party received 19% of the vote, which also put it in third place. The EFF did not fare well in either by-election.

The Electoral Court will hear the case lodged by the ANC on March 19  in Bloemfontein. DM 


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Karen Spangler says:

    There is probably nothing legit about many of the parties attempting to run in this upcoming ‘election’..and I use that word lightly. South Africa is dying a brutal death at the hands of corrupt, lying, cheating and stealing politicians. What used to be a beautiful, vibrant country has been reduced to a third world country. So so so sad.

  • PJ R says:

    Headline is not quite on the spot. Zuma, as any other citizen has a constitutional right to form a political party. The IEC are the one who either approve or disapprove the application. The Electoral Court won’t rule on trademarks, copyright infringement etc or make a ruling against Zuma’s party. The court will make rulings regarding the IEC’s decisions ( still taking into account the MK name ), but they cannot rule on who the rightful owner of the MK brand, there are specialised courts for that. With that said, the ANC can’t frog march the MK party to court for a decision the IEC took and can’t demand anything from Zuma and the MK party. The court will decide.

  • Glyn Morgan says:

    Mr. Zuma, MK, do not fear. If you are excluded from the elections just advise all your members to take revenge on the ANC by voting for the DA. THAT will get up the ANC’s collective butts!!

  • Bruce Gatland says:

    ANC sweating bullets in KZN.
    Makes a change from their usual practice – shooting bullets at each other.

  • Bill Nash says:

    Please excuse me for being “dim” but I so not understand this article’s headline.

  • Jimbo Smith says:

    Wow! “Democracy” in Africa comes with a serious health warning! As if the political killings aren’t enough as wannabe “politicians” simply kill a possible contender, the courts are increasingly embroiled at a party level to deal with exactly the same scenario; wannabe parties queuing up and desperately fighting their way to the feeding trough. What the civilized World must think of SA with our daily smorgasbord of “political” lunacy???

  • Geoff Coles says:

    One must bear in mind that the ANC essentially appoints members of the IEC and Electoral Court, and appointing sub-standard is par.

  • Johan Buys says:

    I can picture former prisoner zuma sitting in his fire pool cackling his head off at this circus.

    The opposition to the sane side is split among half a dozen groups that put ego before country.

    The opposition to the looney extreme side is now two parties that mean the minority RET faction within ANC can dictate their future positions when the ANC has to choose who to form a majority with.

    The ANC will not form a majority with the moonshot pact. Prep yourself for 2 EFF ministers and a Zuma in cabinet. Not sure which Zuma.

    We’re up the creek in a barrel, heading for Augrabies waterfall.

  • Jeremiah Reggies Mubaiwa says:

    MK has become a thorn in the eyes of the ruling party which requires to belt up

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